EAFF Championship first round to be held in Ulaanbaatar

The first round of the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) Championships is edging ever closer, and it has been decided that Mongolia will host the initial stage of the competition for the first time in their history. It was decided at the 55th EAFF Executive Committee Meeting, held on March 30 in Busan, South Korea.

The EAFF Championship is East Asia’s regional football tournament and is normally won by Japan or South Korea. In the first round, the competing nations will be Mongolia, Guam, Macau and the Northern Mariana Islands. Only one team from the first group will move to round two which will be held in Taiwan and compete with North Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong where again only one more team progresses to the final round which will be played South Korea who is also the current champions.

Japan, China and South Korea are always given a bye to the final round due to their FIFA World Rankings, and with only one of the smaller teams qualifying for the next round, it makes it extremely tough for the so-called ‘minnows’ to make it to the final round. Recent years has seen North Korea take that exclusive fourth spot in the final round, but Hong Kong and Taiwan are likely to push them all the way again.

The games are played on a round robin basis, with each team playing each other once in a host nation. Whoever tops the group will move to the next stage. The first round will be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in September 2018, don’t worry if you cannot make it to Mongolia because the EAFF Youtube website normally streams the first two rounds of games for free.

The winner will then play in the second preliminary round will be held in Taiwan in November 2018

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